“UFC Gyms has been huge for us,” said White. “It’s been an incredible, incredible business for us.”
Although the re-branding might increase the number of douchebags in your neighborhood who claim that they “train UFC,” this is a positive development for MMA awareness. Not only are the existing UFC Gyms massive (some up to 40,000+ square feet) and well-outfitted with the latest training equipment, they also feature a crapload of classes that help introduce members to the basics of MMA. For example, the class list for the Concord facility includes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Muay Thai, Judo, MMA Wrestling, San Shou, and “Hot Hula,” the art of mesmerizing an attacker with your gently swaying hips before savagely kicking them in the balls. Children welcome!
No, these are not legit MMA training camps, and they don’t promote themselves to be. But for MMA fans who just want to burn some calories and learn a few techniques, these places look pretty sweet. I can’t speak from personal experience, though, so if any of you have had good/bad experiences with UFC Gyms that you’d like to share, please drop ‘em in the comments section, or e-mail email@example.com to protect your anonymity.
The good news for you is that MMA gyms are popping up in every city, and whether you’re hoping to make a title run or simply looking to drop a few pounds, they’ve got a pair of board shorts in just your size. But before you sign up, be forewarned that not everyone you meet will be as likeable as your GSPs and your Jon Joneses. Here’s a quick rundown of who you may be sharing snorkels with at the gym. If you find yourself thinking, “There’s no one at my gym like that,” you may want to look again.
The Armchair Blackbelt: You learned all you needed to know about this guy when you saw him leaning on his bike in the parking lot. Today may be his first day at the gym, but he was watching the UFC before Brock was even champ, so do yourself a favor and go teach someone else how to slap on an armbar. He’ll play along and do these silly little drills for now, but after today’s performance he’s pretty sure the coach is going to want to move him out of the beginner’s class. He’s a ball of coiled, nervous energy, and the second he hits the mat he’s going for a gogoplata. Down the road he’ll make guest appearances at the gym, if only to tell you how he would have smashed his last opponent were it not for that nagging knee/back/skull injury that’s plagued him since he joined the team. Even when he doesn’t actually train, he’ll ask you to snag a picture of him fist-posing cageside so he can update his Facebook. The Sadist: He burned his neighbor’s cat when he was nine and he’s been chasing that same high ever since; he’d all but given up when he stepped foot into an MMA gym for the first time and totally crippled someone. His inner beast has no leash, and the slightest suggestion that he isn’t the alpha male at the gym will set it loose. Training jiu jitsu? He’d sooner elbow you in the face than tap. Accidently butt heads while sparring? Here comes the body slam. There is no half-speed, there is no practicing technique. His only saving grace is that he’s found an outlet for his aggression. Without MMA, he’d be forced to unleash his wrath upon the unsuspecting public.